Focus on fundamentals and proven technology for 2021

By Matt Sellhorst

With an unprecedented busy season behind us and an unpredictable 2021 ahead of us, it’s time to focus on the fundamentals and utilize proven technology for a successful 2021.

Here are seven fundamentals to focus on during this off-season:

Improve interview portion of the sales process

One of the most overlooked and most impactful portions of the sales process is what I call the interview phase. It’s a five- to 10-minute conversation where the sales person gets to understand the prospect.

Developing a pool of open-ended and specific questions to find the real wants, needs and emotional hot buttons will transform your ability to close and make the negotiation and closing step of the sale much easier.

Improve closing skills

Spending some time developing a strong series of closing questions and practicing them daily will make the consummation of the sale seem like no big deal for the sales person and the prospect. In my experience, one of the biggest reasons salespeople are under performing is because the lack of professional closing skills or the inability to ask for the sale at all.

Develop a consistent follow-up system (24/7 Boat Selling Machine)

I’ve written about the “24/7 Boat Selling Machine” often over the years and it is still the most powerful tool in converting more leads into face-to-face appointments for your top trained salespeople. Spending time creating these e-zines, boat previews, automated yet personalized emails, email and text message templates could be a game changer for many dealers.

Consistently capture leads (online and offline)

Once you have your “24/7 Boat Selling Machine” in place, the best way to add rocket fuel to its success is to add as many potential prospects as possible into it. This requires your entire team to participate and focus on collecting name, phone number and email address from every person that comes in contact with your dealership, as well as capturing more leads online.

Customer experience

Many folks have talked about customer experience. Remember, it’s not just the first sale that’s important for the industry and your dealership. Repeat buyers, service business, parts and accessory revenue all add up to making your dealership more financially sound through the natural ups and downs in our industry.

Video marketing (Facebook live and YouTube videos)

So far, everything we’ve talked about can be done with simple technology of a CRM or manual effort. But, it is 2020 and there are some proven technology tools you should be using.

For example, our consumers expect the ability to shop for virtually everything from the comfort of their own home. The best way to do this is to utilize video marketing, especially considering winter and spring boat shows are up in the air at best. Bring your inventory to your prospects in the right way and it will result in more opportunities for your sales team.

Re-targeting & re-marketing ads

The ability to track and serve digital ads to those prospects that have visited our websites, given us their emails or phone numbers is one of the most effective marketing tools at our disposal today. Add a “24/7 Boat Selling Machine” and manual phone follow-up from your sales team or BDC and that’s a recipe for another outstanding selling season.

Investing time, effort and money in these seven areas will position you and your dealership for maximum success in an uncertain 2021.

This month’s challenge: Spend some time focusing on each of these areas. Hire a consultant, sales trainer or marketing expert for fast and better results. Or, follow the steps I’ve provide in previous issues of Boating Industry to do it all yourself. The key, is to take action.  

Matt Sellhorst is the founder of Boat Dealer Profits Marketing Agency and author of the only business-building book for the retail boating industry, “Boat Dealer Profits; How the SPLASH System can help you sell more boats, make more money and have more fun.” Claim your free copy at

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